It’s an absolute honour to feature one of southern Spain’s most talented DJs, saxophonists and musicians today on the Sunshine Weddings Spain blog. Tom Rust is something of a legend – both on the Costa del Sol, and in the UK, renowned for a truly individual style combined with raw talent. What better musical backdrop for getting a wedding party started?
Your unique fusion of talents is something very special on the Costa del Sol. Can you tell us how your DJing journey began?
It started about 5 years ago on the coast. I was asked to DJ and thought “why not?”. I really enjoyed the whole process of it.
How long have you been playing the saxophone, and how did you get into it?
I started playing sax when I was 13 years old – so longer than I care to remember! I used to play with the school band. We even released a few records and toured Europe…
Wow. That’s pretty amazing getting to experience such extraordinary opportunities at such a tender age. Which sax artists inspired you the most growing up?
Wilton Felder of The Crusaders and Grover Washington were definitely massive influences on me. I used to play along to their records – particularly Wilton Felder’s songs.
When did you start playing tenor and alto saxophone sets at weddings, and how did that come about?
I took a break from playing saxophone for about a decade, and then got into it again 8 years ago. I started playing at weddings because I could see that people liked sax during champagne receptions. Back in the day, I played in various clubs in Magaluf in Mallorca, and now saxophone has become really popular so I’m bringing my version of it to club classics.
You are also a highly acclaimed jazz singer (with the critics comparing you to Frank Sinatra and Jamie Cullum), which, combined with your DJ and saxophone skills, makes for a super impressive CV. How would you typically start off a wedding party when you are DJ mode, and at what point do you break into a saxophone set? Do you tend to fuse music and singing into your wedding sets?
Every wedding is different and you work with the wedding planner, bride and groom to give them what they want. That said, Motown tunes are always a great place to start. Yes. I do and I can fuse my music with song! A burst of energy of me playing sax over a few floor fillers always goes down well late in the evening. The juxtapose of me singing during the wedding reception seems to cover a lot of musical taste and territory.
Obviously, the bride and groom know you are multi-talented, but what are the guests’ reactions when you transition from DJ to sax player?
I try to keep it a secret from the guests until the last minute. It’s great to see the smiles on people’s faces.
Which DJs inspire you the most and how would you describe your DJing style?
I am in the service industry as a wedding DJ. It’s not about me or my style. I play a broad spectrum of music so that kids to grandparents can get up on the floor. I would say l am a musical DJ due to my musical background, l wouldn’t call myself a house or a garage DJ, however I do need to be able to play most styles and requests. I have worked with lots DJ’s and l would say that every time you work with someone new you learn something and are hopefully inspired. I have worked with the likes of Gavin ‘Face’ Mills of Copyright Crew, Defected Records, Brian Tharme of Baseball Records, and even with some DJ’s of darker material, such as Nico of No U Turn Records.
You are renowned – both here in Spain and in the UK – for a truly unique style that sets you apart from other musicians in your field. How is your DJing and musicality different and do you think this is a conscious choice or simply an extension of you as a person; as a musician?
I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great dance producers and musicians and I think the common thread is the search for authenticity. Do what feels good and others will feel it too. That said, when I am performing at a wedding I am aware that I am in the service industry so it’s not all about me and my musicality, but more about helping to create lovely memories for the whole family.
Your most memorable wedding in Spain?
Aside from my own?!?! I played a fab celeb wedding in Ibiza a few years ago now… sorry but I can’t name names 😉
How do you get everyone (including the most reluctant guests!) up on the dance floor? Which songs always guarantee a crowd?
I like to get a playlist and family favourites if possible. It’s always good to get an idea of who you are playing to before you start. Happy uplifting tunes are always on my playlist.
Are you happy to put together a tailor made set for bridal couples, to reflect their favourite songs?
Yes, absolutely! It’s so important to work with the couple and get a feel for their tastes beforehand if possible.
When there are no specific requests, just good music, how do you decide which songs will best suit a couple and their chosen wedding location?
I try to avoid that situation as there are always favourite and special songs that mean a lot to the family.
What do you love most about your job?
It’s always an honour to perform at a couple’s most special day. I also love the canapes.
This has been a brilliant insight into the way you work, Tom! Thank you very much for your time. The Sunshine Weddings Spain team is looking forward to working with you in the new season.